To investigate the early events of JC virus (JCV) infection, including attachment, penetration, transport to the nuclei, and replication of the virus, we analyzed the susceptibility of 15 different cell lines to infection using a semiquantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, in situ hybridization, laser scanning confocal microscopy, and a viral replication assay. The cell lines examined were human permissive and nonpermissive cells as well as cells of monkey and mouse origin. JCV entry into the nuclei of the all cell lines was observed within 10 min after inoculation, demonstrating that the virus receptor is widely distributed among mammalian cells. Inhibition of viral entry by an anti-JCV VP1 antibody and sialidase treatment to remove sialic acid residues, which are considered a candidate for the JCV receptor, suggested that VP1 may interact with the cellular surface sialic acid. In addition, chlorpromazine, a clathrin-dependent pathway inhibitor, significantly suppressed entry of JCV into nuclei. In spite of the broad spectrum of cells susceptible to JCV entry, replication of the virus occurred exclusively in human neuroblastoma cell lines. These results suggest that whereas JCV can enter a wide variety of cell types and localize to the nuclei, cell-specific intranuclear mechanisms are required for virus replication.
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